Apple lens mount patent would bring interchangeable lenses to iPhone

Here’s how iPhones might do interchangeable lenses


patent illustration for iPhone lens mount
Now that's a camera bump.
Illustration: Apple/USPTO

The camera bump on future iPhones could include an “interlock arrangement” for mounting additional third-party lenses, according to a patent awarded to Apple.

The idea sounds potentially compromising to the svelte design we’ve come to expect from our iPhones. Sure, “the best camera is the one in your pocket” — but in the future, you just might need a bag.

In the past few years, companies, including Apple, rushed to add additional cameras to their smartphones, bringing an ultra-wide view as well as a short telephoto. Other photographic challenges that arise from the form factor of these slender handheld computers — such as zoom and shooting in low light — get addressed with software and algorithms.

As a result, many great photographers use iPhones these days. Some work within the handsets’ limits. Others expand what the native camera sees by using third-party lenses. Some even employ complicated riggings for smartphones that provide a mount for DSLR lenses.

Apple interchangeable lens mount patent explores several ideas

Apple continually pushes to revolutionize the smartphone camera. And yet, ideas and inventions filed with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office often fail to see the light of day. Apple filed for this particular interchangeable lens patent in 2017, but just won it on Jan. 14.

Patent summaries can be vague and offer several “embodiments.” For this one, Apple’s idea involves a mount that attaches with an adhesive. The mount would feature grooves to correspond with the mounting ring on the back of the lens.

Another version could utilize a separate camera module that would include sensors and autofocus coils, according to patent details. “In some embodiments, a camera module may include one or more elements that define an optical axis, a lens barrel that holds the one or more lens elements (and) a lens carrier and interlock arrangement to attach the lens barrel to the lens carrier,” the patent says. “Furthermore, the camera module may include a lens actuator to move the lens carrier relative to the image sensor.”

The patent also makes reference to voice-activated motors and processors. A processor would bring an image up on the display of either an iPhone or iPad.

Via: Apple World Today